NEW YORK ( May 2, 2011)-– After ten years of extraordinary service to the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Ms. Irene Dankelman of the Netherlands will retire from the Board of Directors on May 1, 2011. Ms. Dankelman has been Chair of the international Board for the last year. Board and staff colleagues celebrate the wisdom, passion, expertise and tirelessly supportive spirit with which Irene has advised and governed the organization over her tenure. Effective immediately, Ms. Monique Essed Fernandes of Suriname will assume the position of Chair of the Board for the global women’s advocacy organization.

Ms. Essed Fernandes has been active in social development and politics for the past twenty years. She is the founder of the Women’s Parliament Forum, an organization to foster women’s political participation, as well as Projekta, an NGO focusing on women and development. Ms. Essed Fernandes is also the founder of a political party in Suriname and was the first woman to run for President of the country. She recently served as a policy advisor on planning and development cooperation and governance issues in Suriname, the region and worldwide. While continuing her international work, she is presently focusing on educational, environmental and governance priorities in her own country. Ms. Essed-Fernandes has been on the WEDO Board for several years, serving in the capacity of both Vice-Chair and Chair, prior to stepping back in late 2009 to act temporarily as Interim Executive Director during a transition period for the organization.

The Board of Directors and staff of WEDO welcome Monique back to the Board, while honoring Irene and wishing her great joy, peace and success in her next endeavors!

For more information, please contact:

Cate Owren
Executive Director

Monique Essed Fernandes
Chair, Board of Directors

join the movement

Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.